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School emergency response system developed through CHOICES Program

Emergency Response System Sitting in the multipurpose room at Kings River Union School last week, dozens of Tulare County school district administrators, law enforcement officers and representatives from state and federal legislators watched live images of officers engaged in an emergency response drill right outside their building. From time to time, one of the school’s cameras would pick up images of officers running through campus in pursuit of a man who was playing the role of an armed intruder. In addition to the images on screen, the audience in the multipurpose room heard live radio reports from officers on campus, directions from the dispatcher who was working behind the screen, and the screams of the volunteers who played the roles of the victims.

School district personnel and law enforcement officers convened at Kings River Union School to test a new emergency response system developed through TCOE’s CHOICES Programs in partnership with Danny Cordeniz of My World Studios of Tulare. Attendees in the audience watched a pair of monitors – one with a map of the school campus and the other with thumbnail images from the school’s nearly 40 cameras. Once operational, the web-based system, which was developed over the past year, will enable law enforcement dispatchers to access the school’s camera system, along with maps of its campus and 360-degree images of classrooms.

Kings River Union Superintendent Sherry Martin shared that her district upgraded its camera system last year. With the support of her board, she volunteered to be the first district to test the emergency response system. “Piloting the system has been a great experience for our school because it’s made us think further about how we can improve the safety of our students in all situations,” said Ms. Martin.

Emergency Response System

Tulare County Superintendent of Schools Tim Hire and CHOICES Administrator Frank Silveira welcomed the guests to the demonstration and thanked the many law enforcement agencies that participated in the event. Mr. Hire shared that he hopes the system will soon be used by every district in Tulare County, if not California. “We brought you here today to see what the system is capable of doing and to solicit your comments on ways we can improve it,” he said. Mr. Silveira explained that the emergency response system was developed out of discussions held at CHOICES’ Crisis Prevention, Preparation, Response (CPPR) Forums which began last year.

Lt. Buddy Hirayama of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) coordinated four scenarios for attendees to watch. With system developer Danny Cordeniz at his side, TCSO dispatcher Phil Cox relayed the information he was given on the intruder and his movements through campus based on the images he saw on the system. Mr. Cox could select and enlarge individual cameras, making the job of relaying information to the officers on campus much easier.

Emergency Response System

Following the scenarios, law enforcement officers were invited to comment on the effectiveness of the system. “The response has been very positive,” said Mr. Hire. “Many of the officers commented that they were able to apprehend the intruder faster than they imagined because the dispatcher was able to give them precise details on his whereabouts. We look forward to taking the valuable input we received from our law enforcement partners to further develop the system for use in our schools.”

For more information on the new school emergency response system, please call Frank Silveira at (559) 651-0155.

Photos above:
~ Emergency system developer Danny Cordeniz (r) assists Phil Cox, dispatcher for the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, in locating a mock intruder during a crisis response drill at Kings River Union School. The web-based system integrates the school’s existing cameras with a site plan to aid dispatchers in directing first responders in the event of an actual emergency. California Assemblyman Devon Mathis looks on.
~ Members of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office prepare to run a drill involving a mock intruder on campus.
~ CHOICES Program Administrator Frank Silveira shows educators and law enforcement officers who attended the training the features of the emergency response system.

New collaborative broadens scope of successful continuous improvement grant

CVNIC TCOE’s improvement science collaborative is beginning a new phase with a new focus. The original Gates Foundation-funded Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC) last week became CVNIC 2.0: Unlocking Students’ Math Potential. CVNIC 2.0 launched its first “Leading for Improvement” meeting on July 24 for participating district coaches and leaders.

While the original CVNIC focused on fifth-grade classrooms – supporting the development of productive student math mindsets and shifting instructional practices of individual teachers – CVNIC 2.0 focuses on the entire school as the vehicle to bring about change. The math coaches in the network will concentrate on how to create systems of support at the school and district levels to catalyze and sustain an ambitious new form of instruction. CVNIC 2.0 stands to expand the impact of the current work by broadening the scope and scale to include mathematics instruction in grades 3-8 – an important step in transforming math learning countywide. Network participants will convene throughout the school year to learn about local improvement work and share mathematics instruction successes.

CVNIC 2.0 is comprised of district leaders, coaches, and teachers from 10 Tulare and Kings county school districts – Buena Vista, Burton, Earlimart, Kings River Union, Kings River-Hardwick, Palo Verde Union, Pixley Union, Porterville Unified, Tulare City, and the Tulare County Office of Education. Stephanie Verners, Educational Resource Services mathematics curriculum specialist, reports that mathematics coaches from the Kern County Superintendent of Schools also asked to join CVNIC 2.0 to learn more about improvement science.

Tulare County Office of Education will provide support and training in continuous improvement and mathematics instruction. The ultimate goal of this collaborative is to evaluate student learning in participating schools, and share these findings across the county. For more information on CVNIC 2.0, contact Stephanie Verners or Kim Webb at (559) 651-3031.

Photo above:
~ Educators from 10 Tulare and Kings county districts and the Kern County Superintendent of Schools recently met to begin school- and district-wide improvement work focused on mathematics instruction in grades 3-8. The group is a continuation of the Gates Foundation-funded Central Valley Networked Improvement Community (CVNIC).

Institute supports new teachers and interns with resources

New Teacher Institute Educational Resource Services (ERS) and New Teacher & Leadership Development (NTLD) partnered to provide the second annual New Teacher Institute last week. The institute featured unique breakout sessions designed for new teachers with less than five years experience and for first-year interns, including those with Short-Term Staff Permits (STSPs) and Provisional Internship Permits (PIPs). During the two-day training, teachers explored management practices that support their students, discovered resources and tools to enhance learning opportunities, and engaged in collaboration to inspire the creation of learning environments where student growth mindsets will thrive.

In a fast-paced, interactive series of sessions, nearly 50 participants learned about the arts, mathematics, English Language Development, ERS student events, ERS library and digital resources, literacy, and technology. Sessions especially designed for interns included identifying a system of support, planning for the new school year, and setting up their classrooms. Attendees completed the institute feeling empowered with new classroom management strategies to engage their students in fun, positive, and differentiated ways.

Photo above:
~ Nearly 50 new teachers and interns gathered for a two-day institute on the resources and supports available to them through Educational Resource Services and the New Teacher & Leadership Development programs.

California Center on Teaching Careers wins national award

California Center on Teaching Careers logo

TCOE's California Center on Teaching Careers (The Center) has won the national Brian L. Talbott Award from the Association of Educational Service Agencies. This annual award is presented to an individual or agency for contribution in the area of technological innovation and support.

The Center's foundation on technology was the basis for the award, specifically its website which matches teachers and teacher candidates with employers and credential programs depending on the profile each user creates. As an extension of its website, The Center has conducted several statewide and regional virtual teacher recruitment fairs, attracting thousands of job seekers in the last year. The Center was nominated for the award by Peter Birdsall, executive director of the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association.

“The Center staff and partners at the state and regional levels have done an incredible job to elevate teaching as a career and to bring quality teachers to our classrooms,” said Tim Hire, Tulare County Superintendent of Schools. The grant which created The Center was awarded to TCOE in December 2016 by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing to promote teaching careers and alleviate the statewide teacher shortage. To learn more about its services or upcoming teacher job fairs, visit

Editor: Robert Herman, Public Information Officer
Contributors: Marlene Moreno, Jennifer Fisher, Lorena White, Jenean Bray, Jen Francone, Stephanie Verners, and Frank Silveira.

To receive News Gallery Week, visit, or contact Jennifer Fisher at or (559) 733-6172.